The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The rounded head of the upper femur (thighbone) fits firmly into the socket of the pelvis, and together they make up the hip joint. In newborns and children with developmental hip dysplasia (DDH), the hip joint has not formed normally and the ball of the femur is loose in the socket. This usually means the hip is very easily dislocated.
DDH tends to run in families, and is more common in:
DDH is most often present at birth, though it may develop during the first year of childhood. Some babies born with DDH may not present any symptoms initially.
Common signs of DDH include:
When DDH is diagnosed at birth, it can usually be treated conservatively with good results. If the condition is not diagnosed until a child begins walking, treatment can be a little more complicated.
Nonsurgical treatment options include:
In some cases, the pediatric orthopedic surgeon will need to reposition your child’s femur into the right position, and apply a cast to hold the bones in place. This procedure is performed while the child is under anesthesia. Surgery to correct DDH is sometimes necessary to realign the hip.